Getting this message: "This won't work because it would move cells in a table on your worksheet."

Copper Contributor

When I try to insert a row in a formatted table, I get the following message: "This won't work because it would move cells in a table on your worksheet."

17 Replies

Hi @laura_protzman


Do you have another table below the one you are trying to insert the row in?


If so you could just insert a sheet row rather than a table row  (providing that doesn't mess anything up to the right or left of your table)



What is interesting, if another table is in exactly the same columns


Excel doesn't care about that and inserts rows into the first table shifting everything down


Yes, it’s essentially inserting cells for the row of the table so if that moves the whole lower table it’s fine but if it’s just part of the table that’s not possible
I was getting the same error message because I had accidentally chosen the entire columns to be part of the table. I was able to fix by going into Design > Resize Table and selecting the proper range of data.

@laura_protzman I'm getting the same error message too. I can insert a row easily but I can't 'Insert Copied Cells' which I do all the time.


Read through the other comments and they don't help unfortunately. Any other suggestions?

@laura_protzman PS found this article which explains it a bit more but still doesn't give an answer as to why it is built like that?!



Are you trying to insert copied cells somewhere above a Table?


A Table is treated as an entire object therefore inserting cells above a table tries to "push down" one or more columns  in the table which can't happen

@laura_protzman I had a similar message when I tried to refresh a table created with Power Query based on reading a table of data from a source file.  Turns out that I had added a few rows to the source file and so the query couldn't place the newly-expanded table of data into the confines of the existing table.  Once I manually added rows to the "receiving" table (by dragging the small, square fill handle in the lower right corner of the lower-rightmost cell in the table down to add as many rows as needed), the query was able to run again.

@laura_protzman this may not apply to your situation but it's what created that error for me:


I have a MS Power Automate Flow that would check the contents of an excel table and delete rows in the table. Everything worked fine until today I get that error. In the end I discovered it's because the last time I used the file I left that table filtered based on a column entry. Once I turned off the filter and saved it the Flow work again.

I have had the same problem but my problem was that I created a table, I didn't even realise I did, selecting a few columns (usually selected to the end of the worksheet). So when I tried to add a row, it was imposible because I already had maximum rows. Don't know how I realised that but problem was fixed by deleting the unused rows, creating more space to add them back in (anywhere you want).

@laura_protzman To remove some no used columns or rows first, then you can easily move or insert any columns or row.


Best regards,

C. C. Hsieh

@laura_protzman This is because you created a table wiht an infinite number of rows.

When creating a table in Excel, follow these steps:

1) give names to your header columns in the first, headers row

2) select only the header row and one additional empty row below

3) click on 'Insert table'

4) save the file


This should make your flow work.


Thanks Ryan. I struggled with this for a while. Googled and no obvious fixes. Then saw your note. Yes! Makes perfect sense. No wonder the Format Table utility ran so long!

Thanks - that worked for me too, although in my case I had selected all rows, e.g. "$A:$D", and thus Excel is not able to insert a new row by moving the others down. The error message is a little unintuitive here. Anyway resizing to "$A$1:$D$150" fixed it :)

Thank you, this was a great work-around for a stubborn problem.  The error message is understandable, but the workarounds are not always so intuitive.  So, thank you for the RESIZE option!

Actually, it makes perfect sense that any table change that shifts some, but not all, of another table's cells would be problematic.  Just surprised there is no option to add free rows or columns between tables so the operation can be performed if the table is only bringing in vacant cells in vacant rows or columns (and not really expanding into other tables), which is what the resize option technically does to overcome the problem.

Another anomaly is that this message is also displayed even when you are NOT CHANGING the size of the table.  For example, when you are moving or repositioning columns, which doesn't change the table dimensions, you are annoyingly prevented from doing so by this message.  Presumably, because some cells might be temporarily shifted or displaced in another table during the operation.

It would be nice if Excel was smart enough to, at least, accommodate row and column moves which don't change the table dimensions.  This problem creates real nightmares for worksheets with a variety of non-conforming dimensions.

@RyanPD , thanks SOOOOOOOO much. Too many rows selected for my table. Now sorted.